Working out is both satisfying and difficult.
Table of Contents
- Supplements Only Supplement
- Daily Supplements
- Pre-Workout Supplements
- A Word on Recovery
If it wasn’t difficult, it wouldn’t be working out.
If you’re like me, you enjoy working out.
Maybe it’s because you like the results.
Few things are as satisfying as being more capable and better looking than you were last year.
Or perhaps you like the pump you get from tough exercise.
Admit it, you’ve admired yourself in a mirror after beating a particularly difficult set!
But, with classes, homework, and hanging out with friends, it can be difficult to find time to exercise.
So let’s make our exercises as effective as possible!
We’ll look at many different types of supplements.
Even among those, some will be better than others. So keep an eye out for the top 3 best options!
Supplements Only Supplement
It seems like every day, there’s a new magic supplement out there.
Take this pill!
Your muscles will double in size in just thirteen minutes!
For only seven easy payments of $29.99!
We all know that’s just a scam.
But not every supplement is a money pit.
The secret to picking and using supplements is in the name:
Supplements supplement your workout.
You can’t take a pill to magically gain muscle.
But some supplements will help your exercises be more effective.
This will lead to more muscles and a stronger you.
There are two basic types of supplements. Either you’ll take them every day, or you’ll take it right before your workout.
Daily supplements are taken, well, every day.
Let’s start with the most obvious, but no less important, supplement.
If you don’t consume enough protein, your body can’t get any stronger.
Want more muscles?
Every adult who lifts weights benefits from supplementing with protein.
It can be from a whey shake or from a tuna melt. It just has to be high in protein.
Gals, this works for you too.
However, there is an upper limit.
Protein stops being beneficial once you consume 1.6 grams of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight.
So you don’t have to consume a jar of whey protein per day.
Just make sure to take in enough protein.
Top 3 Protein Powder Supplements
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein – Whey protein is the gold standard for a reason, and Optimum Nutrition puts out the best.
- Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder – If you’re watching your carb intake, Isopure’s whey protein powder is perfect for you!
- Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder – Whey is not for everyone. For those of us who prefer a plant-based protein supplement, this one is excellent. It lacks the filler ingredients you see in so many other non-animal protein powders.
Your body naturally produces creatine.
The more creatine you have, the more your muscles have access to fresh ATP when working out.
Since workouts are often limited by ATP, this lets you workout harder and more effectively.
Which means that if you supplement with creatine, you’ll get stronger faster.
It’ll also improve your testosterone levels and decrease cortisol.
Testosterone helps improve your muscle mass while cortisol works against it.
Good job, creatine!
Top 3 Creatine Supplements
- BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate Powder – With a clear, simple package and no filler ingredients, all you get is creatine. That’s all you pay for, too.
- Optimum Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate Powder – Mix this with their protein powder and you get a killer one-two combination!
- MET-Rx Creatine 4200 – Powder can be messy. Why not take a simple pill, instead?
Testosterone and cortisol are both hormones.
So, if you want to be stronger and healthier, you have to have healthy hormone levels.
No, we’re not going to advocate for steroids.
Let’s work with your body naturally.
Your body makes hormones through a long, involved process.
Suffice to say, you can take supplements that help your body make the hormones it needs.
A great supplement is Vitamin D!
Getting more Vit. D can help increase your testosterone levels.
However, it doesn’t work alone. It has synergy with calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin K2.
You can get more Vitamin D by hanging out in the sun, but you’ll have to consume the rest.
Thankfully, there are supplements which have all of them together!
By the way, that combination is also good for increasing the strength of your bones.
Stronger bones and stronger muscles, what more could you ask for?
Top 3 Hormone-Building Vitamin Supplements
- NATURELO Bone Strength – Not just for bones, this supplement has Vitamin D3, K2, calcium, magnesium, and more, all designed to work together!
- New Chapter Calcium Supplement – Another whole-food source of vitamins, you can also buy this one as a bundle with a joint health supplement!
- Pure Essence Labs Ionic Fizz Super D-K Calcium Plus – This one is a powder and is available in several flavors. Perhaps you should mix the orange flavor with a chocolate protein powder for a chocolate orange super drink?
There’s a nifty class of herbs out there called adaptogens.
What they do is they help your body do what it does, but a little bit better.
So you’ll work out a little stronger, recover a little faster, and rest a little more restfully.
Ginseng is the most well-known adaptogen, but there are others.
The idea of adaptogenic herbs is still somewhat new, but there is some evidence that they work.
Don’t expect immediate, stellar results, though.
Adaptogenic herbs are subtle.
Top 3 Adaptogenic Supplements
- vitamonk AdaptoTrax – Want a variety of adaptogenic herbs at once? This supplement is for you!
- NutraChamps Korean Red Panax Ginseng – The most well-known adaptogen, authentic and pure.
- Organic India Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is second only to ginseng as an adaptogen. Plus, Organic India treats their farmers well!
Daily supplements will help you, but you still need to get that workout done.
Sometimes I need a little extra oomph when confronted with the bar.
I’m sure you do too.
These pre-workout supplements will give you the boost you need to get that workout done.
The better your workout, the more muscle you will grow.
Pre-workouts tend to be blends, so there will be one top-5 list instead of individual top-3 lists.
Every college student’s favorite stimulant.
You can use it for more than just cramming at 3 a.m. before the test.
Take it at least 20 minutes before your workout and it’ll give you the energy you need to get through the exercise.
It will even make you a little bit stronger, too!
Lots of pre-workout supplements contain caffeine.
However, the original method was to drink coffee.
I’ve even chewed on coffee beans as a pre-workout supplement before.
You don’t need as many as you think to get the energy buzz.
You see, when brewing coffee, a lot of caffeine is left in the bean.
But when you eat the bean you get ALL of the caffeine.
Start with three. Trust me. You don’t need a handful.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is often used to increase athletic performance.
Even the military uses it!
About half an hour after taking beta-alanine, it’ll be flowing around your blood.
This lets your muscles use more carnosine, which lets your muscles do more work before becoming fatigued.
However, there are concerns about overuse.
If you start to feel tingly after taking beta-alanine, that’s called paraesthesia.
Cut back on the dose a little bit.
Your muscles depend on blood to bring in nutrients and remove lactic acid.
The stronger the blood flow, the better you can resist fatigue.
You don’t want to be fatigued during your workout, do you?
L-arginine and L-citrulline are amino acids that work together to improve your blood flow.
You’ll get a bigger pump when you take these before your workout.
As a bonus, this combination can also cut down on plaque in your arteries!
Top 5 Pre-Workout Supplements
- BSN Endorush Energy & Performance Pre-Workout Powder – This one has caffeine, beta-alanine, l-arginine, l-citrulline, AND is available as a pre-made drink for those busy schedules!
- GAT Nitraflex – A pre-workout supplement designed to enhance testosterone, this one also contains everything I mentioned and more.
- BSN N.O.-XPLODE Pre-Workout Supplement – While this pre-workout doesn’t have everything mentioned on this list, it does include creatine, whey protein, and ginseng. Plus, you can get it without caffeine if you’re sensitive.
- N.O. XT Nitric Oxide Supplement – No caffeine here, just nitric oxide and other stuff designed to make your blood flow as strong as possible!
- Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy – With green tea caffeine and an array of amino acids covering everything we mentioned, this can be used as a pre-workout or just a booster throughout the day.
A Word on Recovery
Post-workout supplements are not as effective as daily and pre-workout supplements.
Protein will help your muscles repair quickly, but despite the dire cries of broscientists, you don’t need to eat the protein within a tiny window.
Just eating enough protein daily is good enough.
However, working out does cause you to perspire.
You did sweat during the workout, right?
That sweat causes you to lose electrolytes. That’s a fancy word for different types of salts.
Oh, and you sweat out water, too.
A sports drink will contain the electrolytes and water you need to rehydrate properly.
Rehydrating is all you really need to do after a workout.
As well as getting enough rest.
Sleeping is one of the best things you can do to grow large muscles!
The only way to get stronger is to exercise.
But you can make your workouts more effective with the right supplements.
You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars to buy expensive supplements.
Especially with the price of textbooks!
Be smart, don’t fall for the hype, and you’ll be able to find a few supplements that help you get as swole as possible.